I think Rio is the most naturally beautiful city in the world. Not just for the stunning landscapes, the way the city was laid out, but also all the sexy people and their joy of life. It is infectious. The amount of eye candy here is unreal. This is my second visit here and Leanne’s first. I was here for New Years 2000 with my friend Victor and I hope to come back here many more times. On this trip Leanne and I stayed in a penthouse overlooking Copacabana beach. There is a guesthouse here run by a lovely Brazilian lady, Marta. When we drove in from the airport, Rafael, the person who picked us up, taught me a typical Rio introduction which I used when meeting Marta. She was so excited she hugged and kissed me and Leanne and rambled off in Portuguese for a few minutes before I finally explained that I wasn’t Brazilian and couldn’t actually understand her.
For those who are familiar with Rio I’ll let you know some of the more memorable places we ate at: the most famous barbecue house in Brazil, Porcao Rio’s, Zaza Bistro, amazing Japanese food at Sushi Leblon, and excellent traditional Brazilian food at Restaurante a Mineira. We had a great time walking on the beach paths and wandering past the shops in Ipanema and Leblon. We went downtown and visited Rio’s famous night district Lapa and had the local cocktail of choice, a Caiprinha. We also made it to a couple of incredible vistas during our stay including the Redeemer statue. We spent one day covering as much ground as possible from early morning until late at night, and on other days we took time to relax and just enjoy where we were. We also had the chance to meet up with Marianne, a friend we first met in Peru. It was great to see her again. We look forward to our next visit with her which won’t be until we get a chance to return to Amsterdam. If anyone is planning on visiting Rio, which everyone should, please let us know and we will put you in touch with an incredible host and place to stay as well as an amazing local tour guide and driver. If you need added incentive to visit here how about coming for Carnival, the 2014 World Cup, or likely the 2016 Summer Olympics.
I only allowed for us to have four nights in Rio which is not enough time to enjoy all the city has to offer. I wanted to squeeze in a two night visit to Ilha Grande which is over three hours away. The idyllic island is considered by many Brazilians to be paradise on earth. It has rocky peaks and almost the whole island is covered in dense forest and there are many beautiful secluded beaches. The accommodation there is pretty basic and while the island is great to explore during the day we wished we could have found somewhere more romantic to have retired to each night. The highlight of our time there was hiking through the forested hills to the beaches and visiting what is considered by some to be one of the top ten beaches in the world, Lopes Mendes. In the middle of a forest during our hike Leanne yelled out as she thought she was being attacked by a wild boar. I was ahead of her and yelled as well when I turned to find an animal behind her. We immediately realized it was just an overly friendly dog they had popped out of the bushes to greet us. This dog immediately befriended us and followed us for most of the day. We didn’t have enough time to explore the whole island, but at the same time we were happy to get back to Rio as we didn’t have our fill of it before leaving.
On our last night in Rio we went out for dinner with Marta and her partner John to a favourite restaurant of theirs. It was a great evening and we will certainly miss lovely Marta and hope that we will have the opportunity to stay with her again in Rio sometime in our future. We are looking forward to seeing Rafael again in the morning. He is giving us a lift to the airport.
Next stop will be Iguazu Falls. Photos from Brazil are posted here: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=102767&id=673382190&l=b627ab633c